Even in the digital age – with the likes of LinkedIn and other professional websites – CVs are still an important part of recruitment, but often they are not used in the correct way.
But this is the first step in determining whether someone is a potential right fit for the role.
Yes, we can all ‘read’ CVs, but are we really reading them properly? Objectively? Looking beneath face value? The answer is typically that we are not.
We see something we like, perhaps someone who mentions all the awards they have won, and take that as a great indicator for their success – but this is exactly where we need to look deeper to properly evaluate salespeople.
And timing is critical here – why spend your valuable time reading CVs for people that cannot sell in your unique selling environment?
Check out their work history
This is usually the first place to start when scanning a CV – where have they worked previously? How long for? Are their any gaps in their time line without a reasonable explanation? If someone has moved around a lot, yes, they may have a perfectly good reason for it, but they could also have trouble with sales performance.
And the companies they have worked for – what service or product were they selling and how does it relate to your business? Do they have the ability to sell with your pricing strategy against your competitors to your customers? As previously mentioned, sales experience doesn’t always transfer across roles, and you need to check they have skills that closely relate to your sales cycle. Just knowing someone has had a role selling technology isn’t enough – was it a device or software? Was it high or low volume?
Make sure you can answer all these questions before moving onto the next stage.
How do they set themselves apart?
Just as job adverts for salespeople can often take on a similar appearance, so can the CVs of sales candidates. Are they motivated to achieve, confident and approachable, friendly and able to work autonomously? Of course – but so is every salesperson, at least that’s what they say. So look out for CVs that are able to set themselves apart from the rest.
Do they provide intelligent, insightful into themselves as a salesperson? Are they able to expand on the words they use to describe themselves by providing examples of experience that proves these qualities? It is not enough to just present a list of positive attributes; they need to be backed up with an explanation.
Are they able to qualify their achievements?
Most salespeople will have a list of achievements noted somewhere on their CV, and while these can look impressive at first glance, they need to always be reviewed with closer scrutiny.
Context is critical to get an understanding of what these achievements actually mean, and whether they are indeed notable. For example, someone may say they came top for sales in their region – but how many others were they competing against? And how big was their region? And how much of the award depended on their output – or were they handed hot leads?
It is important to know what was involved with the attainment of these achievements so that you can gain a better insight into their abilities and strengths.
Don’t forget the little things.
The saying may go ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ but when it comes to reviewing a candidates CV, you do need to pay attention to the details. In a sales role, communication is key – both written and verbal – and if they are unable to provide a clear, error-free CV then can you be confident they will be able to deal with your prospects and customers in a professional manner?
Don’t let reviewing CVs take a back seat when you’re looking for someone to recruit – you need to set aside time for the process to be thorough, and ensure you only bring in sales stars to interview.